After months of planning, Maritza and I were off to Europe for five nights in Paris and five nights in Venice, departing August 31, 2003.  Using our Delta points we were able to fly Business Elite.


The Carte Orange turned out to be a great bargain as we were on and off the Metro and buses a lot and fit perfectly into our Monday-Saturday stay.

As we'd both been to Paris before, we were able to skip many of the major tourist spots.  We walked up and down the Pont Alexandre III our first day admiring the beautiful sculptures.  Went to bed very early that first night as we did not sleep on the flights.  This allowed us to get up at 4:30 am the next day to catch the first train to Vernon -- with time to spare. Departure point: Gare St. Lazare.

Amazingly, I was able to walk through the gift shop with no one else in it.  The gardens were so packed the first time I visited here, it was difficult to move down a garden path, and getting into the gift shop was close to impossible.  This was indeed a treat. There were some sections of the garden where I did not see another person.  The flowers were glistening from the early rain.  The tradeoff to arriving so early was that it was overcast, but I think it was worth the trade.

In the past, the bus from Vernon dropped us off directly in front of Monet's home.  This time we were dropped off in a large parking lot and walked about ten minutes.  They need to work on their signage, especially to get people back to the bus which ran infrequently.

The train ride was 45 minutes to Vernon where we hopped aboard a bus to Giverny.  We were among the first to enter the grounds and I was delighted to get a photo of Monet's home without anyone standing in front of it.

Chez Monet
Paris 2003